Sunday 30 March 2008

mY Indie Soul Guest # 1 - Anne Sulikowski

Anne Sulikowski | Building Castles out of Matchsticks

mY Indie Soul Guest # 1
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I think three or four weeks ago , when i found Rothko music , even before i got amazed by their music , i got incredibly mind blown by their videos , i trace the artist and it was a bit confusing , so much information surrounding one name only ! A Canadian artist by the name of Building Castles out of Matchsticks that was both photographer and videographer , it made sense after a while , it was all the same person , don't need to say that i was quite happy , absolutely love to meet people like Anne , passionate about their work and so open talking about herself to someone who never meet before , i guess i consider myself a very lucky guy.

Mark Beazley of Rothko described you as :
" She is a unique artist, working in music, film and photography at such an incredibly high standard "

You have recorded over 13 Albums , been in over 10 music collaborations , working in radio since you were in high school , make beautiful movies and wonderful pictures .

AP ) where do you find all that talent ? and time ?

Anne ( I guess my talent is in my drive to record and document. I am so driven to record its unreal. I do not socialize like the normal person, I spend more time creating than I do inside a bar. I have no television so I have lots of time. Its all I want to do. Music, radio, film and photos….country drives. Seems like a simple and introverted life but to me its everything. I am humbled by the words of Mark. I love the music of Rothko and hold Mark in such high standards. For him to say those words about me are most touching. I am thankful that Mark and I have connected.

Since I was a kid I have loved music. I got my first organ when I was 4 years old from my father Anthony Sulikowski. I loved that organ. There is a picture of us together from that day on my myspace. I was so happy with that organ and trace my musical origins to those moments in time. As a child I used to play imaginary radio DJ games and even recorded some fake radio shows using my moms polish tapes when I was in elementary school. In high school I discovered campus radio by accident and I started listening. When I turned 18 I began volunteering at radio and had my first experimental music show at CFBU in St Catharines when I was 19. Since then I have hosted 6 programs and worked as a music director and programming director at CFBU. Now I host a show at CFMU here in Hamilton called “bleeps and hums” Heard online at mcmaster every Wednesday 9 PM EST. I still daydream about radio and still love organs today.

AP ) What secrets you will unfold with your Indie Soul ? Any special songs that you could tell us about ?

Anne ( Yes the indie soul concept is most special to me. I love that you have allowed me to make one for you. The songs are all very meaningful and they are ones that have stuck with me for ages. The styles vary, but they are all drenched in emotion and I am connected to everyone of them.

AP ) From all your albums , Witch is your favorite and why would you recommended it ?

Anne ( In all honesty I do not have a favorite album. Since 2000 I have done a lot of recording. Possibly because I also did a lot of growing up as a person. It was like the same thing for me. Growing up and recording music. It is hard to explain but I will try. Although I recorded music before 2000 I became very focused as a solo musician in the winter of 2000. I had a horrible break-up and I was very confused and pretty alone. I felt I didn’t have much at the time. Its almost embarrassing to say but it was a really low in my life and I wasn’t sure what tomorrow was going to bring. So I started recording. And this is how I still live my life today. I live to record and document my experiences within. It gives me purpose and understanding. So my albums are like stages in my life marking things I have learned and events that changed me. Maybe that’s a strange way to go about it, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

There is a definite evolution in my music, me starting from noise improv and ambient compositions moving to a more organized and instrumental electronic sound to quiet whispers and singing to the weirdo pop songs which I am doing now….the songs get more clear as time goes on……the one thing that is consistent is the fact that all the songs are stories and recollections of things that have happened to me. So when I think of which is my favorite it is most hard, cause my albums are like photographs of events that have occurred.

Here are some of my recordings that are special to me and why

Secret Doctrine

I recorded secret doctrine in end of 2005-2006. My Father became sick with cancer and I watched him die for months. To say the least because of this I will never be the same. This album is a strange mix of pop and improvised pieces and goes from spacey vocals to shrilling noise segments. Watching someone die is quite possibly the most confusing thing in the world and this album reflects that confusion within me. The last song, 209 West is named after the room in which my Father died. As I was working on that particular recording my laptop crashed and cease to work. When I finally turned it on again the program I was using did save the piece I was working on but it was glitched and recorded at parts like some sort of a malfunction. That experience to me was surreal and I left the recording broken as it was, cause a part of me believes that somehow it transcended my father. To me that song is something most incredible.

Oh, Didn’t She Ramble

Is my story of survival. A Renewed hope and inspiration. Written mostly at the end of 2006 and the beginning of 2007. This marked the beginning of my inner quest for resilience. Stories of failure and taking back what is yours. The art of talking too much. Become more aware of who are. Acceptance. Daydreaming. Romance. These songs are about finally becoming one who has no regrets whatsoever…one who has found ways to keep those most things hidden.

Mp3 | Building Castles Out Of Matchsticks - Oh Didnt She Ramble

Smile, Silly Face (912 records)

This is an album about duality. Smile, silly face, my most recent release, is all about how things are never as they seem to be. Almost never. A smile isn’t always a smile. Well that’s what I have learned anyway. This album contains pieces that were inspired by films I have come to hold dear to me. Films about duality about sorts. The waking Life, One hour Photo and Dark City were major influences for the songs “never“, “a snapshot” and “let go of my memories“. This album to me is very special as it features my first recording with Polish lyrics. It is dedicated to my cousin Danny who passed away at age 23 while I was working on these recordings. My cousin Danny had the most beautiful smile.

Secret Land (Trace Recordings)

Secret Land is filled with secrets and journeys and decisions and revisions. It is my most recent work and it hasn’t been released yet. The songs are more clear and vivid on this album. It marks a turning point in my life. Its like I’ve been walking on a dirt road for years and years and it only went one way and there was never any left or right or ways to turn back. These songs are like reaching this point where the road only goes left and right. Uncertainty. Guesses into the future? Pauses. Wondering…..

Sorry for the long answer. I tend to ramble.

AP ) Witch was your favorite collaboration and from who you have you learned the most during all this time ?

Anne ( I cannot answer that fully as I only collaborate with those I feel a personal connection to. All the people I have worked with musically I hold very dear to me. I have loved working with and am currently working with Mark Beazley, Phil Ogison, -243, Sirk, Sound in Stasis, rhea tucanea and Monodrone. I have begun a few more new collabs, one with science north, millimetrik and a few secret ones. I am very excited about a project with myself and Mark Beazley (Rothko) called “and if”. I have worked with many musicians in the past, either in improvised settings or in recordings or band appearances or as a vocalist or a film maker and I feel that each and other one of these people have left a mark on me. My rule is to always work with people or with songs I feel connected to. My music is far to personal for me to record with just anyone. I do hope to one day collaborate with casino versus japan. He is one of my favorite electronic artists and I so much admire his work.

AP ) Strings of Consciousness are fascinating , how was it like to work with them ?

Anne ( They have a special uniqueness about them. A refreshing blend of musical styles. Working on their video was indeed both challenging and very rewarding. They take you to other dimensions with their music, and the songs are wonderfully composed and very psychedelic. The song “Asphodel” I liked very much. The lyrics are amazing and the movements within the recording itself blew my mind away. I hope to work with them again soon.

Video | Strings of Consciousness - Asphodel Filmed and Edited by Anne Sulkowski.

AP ) Are your pictures a mirror of your compositions ? can you find a link between them ?

Anne ( Like my music my photos are reflections of me. I never take a picture without feeling a personal connection to the subject or the scene I have photographed. Sometimes my pictures remind me of something else later, but my visions are always changing and so are their meanings. But they all have meaning. Everything I do is linked, whether I miss the point or not. And if I did miss the point, I often find myself catching it later and saying “oh yeah….that’s why I took it”

AP ) Could you pick one picture that would reflect yourself ?

Anne ( Yes but that would mean I would have to cut a segment of every photograph I have ever taken and paste them all on a huge sheet of paper into a collage so they are all one.

AP ) How could you define building castles out of matchsticks ?

Anne ( I remember having an argument with someone back at the end of 2000, and we said some pretty harsh things to each other. The one thing that he said to me was “you know Anne, being who you are you are never going to get anywhere in life.” Although those words seem very mean to say to someone these words somewhat changed my life. They forced me to think about who Anne really was. And where Anne really wanted to go in life. It made me become self reflected and introverted. What does Anne want to do? If I knew all that then I would know whether or not he was right. Am I damed or am I gonna be ok. I started to spend more time alone wondering and wandering. This is the real start of building castles out of matchsticks. It was my way to build with what I have even when I felt as though I had nothing. It was a way for me discover what and who I was and make that all into a form of comfort to me. If I was true to myself then I would have gotten somewhere in my life. Building castles is about how everyone has something, no matter how hidden that something may be, and that something can be used to build the most elaborative of things. And that is what I did. Started building. A growth of sorts. And I needed it, cause I didn’t know really anything at all. Perhaps I’m a bit crazy in my answers but this is what recording became for me. My life is more real when I listen to the songs that are inspired by it. It gives me a sense of purpose and eases a strange unknown longing. Maybe that doesn’t mean much to people, but knowing who I am and what I want to get from life is very important to me. And this I explore through my music, film and photography.

AP ) With your last two albums , " smile, silly face " and " Secret Land " , do your consider yourself as a successful Canadian artist ?

Anne ( I’m not sure if I call myself successful in the conventional terms. I feel successful in the sense that I am doing everything I want to do. I record the songs I want to record and film the footage I want to film. I never go to bed thinking I wish I could do that or I wish that I had done that. I just do it. And that to me is a success in itself. The notion of trying to do what I want to do. And really that is so enough for me.

AP ) How does the media in Canada see you , being such a versatile artist ?

Anne ( I have only begun to explore my versatility. I’ve been recording music for a long time but it is only recently that I have focused on photography or film. I started taking pictures as a way of expression in 2005. I started making films in March 2007 when I discovered that my digital camera could also take short footage clips! This past year I have focused on film giving me the opportunity to learn a lot about editing. I still have a lot to learn. I didn’t even know what rendering was before last year. Ha. For those who make films rendering is essential and it is also hell. I have made 29 films to my music and the music of others. I am hoping that I will continue to do more film work…I have even applied for government grant funding to do a series of improvised musical film works….we’ll see what happens. I would like to do an experimental documentary about ghost towns in Canada. That is my goal in film.

As for the media and how they see me, well I’m often off wandering around or working away somewhere or driving on some country roads so I’m not really sure how they see me or even if they are looking. I have had some wonderful and touching reviews written about me. Those are always so kind to see. I have also had mean words typed here and there, making fun and saying I spend way too much time in la la land….but I will try not to mention that, cause those things are never kind to see.

AP ) I know you have a special admiration for the Sonic Youth Bassist Kim Gordon , any influences on her raw bass on your compositions ?

Anne ( It is not so much that she has influenced me musically, although I am a HUGE sonic youth fan. I admire Kim Gordon because of her personal expression in her music. She has this honesty that is remarkable. Her life is inside her words when she sings. I feel her music. She is not a faker. I think she is strong and most beautiful. I relate to her in ways that I cannot explain. To say the least she is most inspirational in so many ways.

AP ) Witch are your favorite albums at this moment ?

Anne ( At the moment my favorite album is a mix CD I make that I replace at least once a week with different songs each time becoming the new favorite with each and every new CD.

AP ) do you daydream ?

Anne ( All day every day.

AP ) Pros and Cons for Bloggers ?

Anne ( Pros : people can get to know who you are

And the con could be : Who the people really are.

When you expose yourself you are leaving yourself open to both the positive and the negative. I am quite open in my blogs and I think this is the reason for either admirations or mockery of me. This is the danger of any form of expression or honesty. Its all about interpretation and personal opinion. But isn’t everything?

Thank you very much Anne , and all the best in the world for all your projects .

Track List

Mice Parade - Shalom
"all the unkept things, as he sits like a king"

Silver Apples - Love fingers
There is indeed something very special about the silver apples. dating back to the the 60s this duo introduced a unique and futuristic approach to electronic music.

I find Simeons work most touching, his use of oscillation and poetic vocals are most inspiring. and romantic.

Ciccone Youth - MacBeth
This is the energy I love about sonic youth. This song reminds me of my mind being blown away. Completely caught in a moment. Confusion and a sense of comfort at the same time.

Flying saucer Attack - islands
david Pierce has recorded some of the most beautiful music I have ever heard. His use of guitar, distortion, delays and reverbs present the most soothing and unsettling music.

His voice is mesorizing. I have always enjoyed listening to him on country drives late at night.

Oval - oval pocess untitled track 05
electric lullabyes. sweet sounds of robot love. a walk on the moon with a short wave radio. this is romance at its finest. a future daze....

Casino versus japan where to? what for?
of all electronic musicians Erik has influenced me most. His unique and expressive ability transcends all the machines he uses for his creations.
This song reminds me of many times in my life. usually a song will remind me of one thing, but this recording changes as i do. Its about pauses and
wondering....waiting. smiling. turning away. crying. deciding and then revising. a walk alone. a decision made. the ability to press on. walking......

Seefeel - plain song
One time a boy I liked gave me a patchcord as a present. sounds boring, but getting a patchcord is just as sweet as getting flowers for me. this song reminds me of that moment.

Icarus - - three false starts
a soundtrack for a french kiss.

broadcast - tender buttons.
it is most impossible for me to pick a favorite broadcast song. well almost impossible.....but here it is.

avey tare and panda bear - Someday I'll Grow to Be as Tall as the Giant
everyone should own the album "Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished " I bought it in 2000, and it is still one of my favorite releases of today.

Stranglers - golden brown
"with my mind she runs"

Rothko - be invisible
I dont think that music can move me more. this track in particular has the ability to hit you at every level all at once. Its multi-dimensional and powerful. quiet. soundtrack to any proufound moment.

Yo la tengo - today is the day
"i remember that rusty car, like it was yesterday."

sonic youth - turquoise boy
there isnt a musical woman in the world that i look up to more. we need more female role models for today. thank you kim, for your honesty and inspiration.

Anne Sulikowski
Building Castles out of Matchsticks